CHEER DANCE Guide: Learn to Be a Cheerleader!
If you've always wanted to be a cheerleader, you've come to the right place! Have a look at the videos and read our tips to help you get on your way.. Congratulations - you have taken your first steps into the wonderful world of cheer.. be ready to be bitten by the Cheer Bug!
STEP 1 - LEARN CHEER MOTIONS
Learning arm motions is the first thing to do when you learn how to be a cheerleader. They are the foundations of cheerleading, and you will see them in stunts, dance, jumps, tumbling - EVERYWHERE. Whether you're a beginner, you have tryouts next week or you're an all-star cheerleader, you need to have strong arm motions to succeed.
All cheerleading moves are based on the basic technique of cheerleading motions: which are often the most critiqued aspect of cheerleading and to really make the difference between a beginner and a pro.
TWO TYPES OF HAND POSITIONS
BLADES - hands held open with fingers extended together, thumbs flat.
FISTS - closed and tight, squeeze with the thumb curled in front of the fists. You want the "swirlies" or "cinnamon rolls" always to face the front unless doing the 'Touchdown' motion.
HOW TO PERFORM YOUR MOTIONS
All your moves should be performed sharply. Imagine hitting a brick wall in the air.
Wrists should not be cocked, but in a straight line with your arms. Thumbs should be on the outside of your fists, with your pinky fingers at the back. Show your swirlies!
Your arms should always be in FRONT of you, even when doing side motions such as a T or L
Shoulders should be relaxed for every motion, not up at your ears!
Practice in front of the mirror. You may feel you're doing the moves correctly, but you may not be!
THE 5Ps OF ARM MOTION TECHNIQUE:
PUNCH - Fists / punches go first. Punch the air so hard you see it move!
POWER - All your motions should be executed with lots of power. Squeeze so hard that if someone were to try and move your arms when you are holding your motion they should not be able to!
PATHWAY - Use the quickest way to get from point A to point B. Punching first, do not swing, break the motion or swing it.
POSITION - Arms should ALWAYS be in front of you, even with a side motion. Test if your position is right. Hold a High V or a T. Looking straight ahead of you can you see your fists? If yes, you are doing it correctly as your fists should always be in your field of vision.
POSTURE - Make sure that you don't slouch or stick out your tummy & backside. Keep the core engaged, be strong and make yourself as tall as you can.
STEP 2 - LEARN THE LINGO
If you want to be a cheerleader, you need to speak cheer! Practice learning all of the cheer motions and basic steps to be a real pro. Once you've learned and you can recall / demonstrate all of your cheer motions you're on your way to try out for the team!
STEP 3 - TRAIN & PRACTICE
Don't be fooled into thinking cheer dance is easier than learning cheer stunts. It's just DIFFERENT! Cheerdance / pom dance / sideline cheerleading / performance cheer are all part of the dance and performance side of cheerleading and requires a particular skillset:
Speed & Power
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STEP 4 - LEARN A CHEER DANCE ROUTINE
After you've practiced the basics, try and learn a harder routine. Challenge yourself - it may take you hours, weeks, months. The secret of being a great cheerleader is perseverance! Some people may be born with natural ability, but it is only those with true determination to make it happen that will succeed.
STEP 5 - GET READY FOR CHEER TRYOUTS
You've gone through all the steps but you want more? Have you been bitten badly by the Cheer Bug? Then it's time to compete or join a professional cheerleading team! When it comes to cheerleading there is no right or wrong - cheerleading comes in many forms and it's up to YOU to pick the one that suits you best, gives you the most fulfilment and makes you happy:
There are six main types of cheerleading, as well as many sub-genres:
Sideline: Promotes and supports competing sports teams in a tournament. Can involve stunt and tumbling elements. Poms are often used.
Varsity Cheerleading: High School or College teams that compete against others in an organised tournament usually split by skill level and age.
All-Star Cheerleading: Private cheerleading training facilities and organisations where the main focus is on producing teams for competitive cheerleading events. Routines will involve stunts and tumbling. Poms are not used.
Recreational: Classes and activities set up for no distinct purposes other than participation, skill attainment and personal development.
Pom Dance: Main focus is dance skills. Stunts or tumbling skills may be involved but are generally basic and primarily used for visual enhancement. Poms are used throughout or for the majority of the time.
Professional Cheerleading: Trained dancers performing as a team and supporting a professional sports team (usually receiving a wage for their performance). Stunts and tumbling elements are rarely utilised. Use of poms depends on team and sport (e.g. NFL pro cheerleaders use poms more often than NBA pro cheerleaders do).
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